49 votes
Accepted

Is it OK to throw pebbles and stones in streams, waterfalls, ponds, etc.?

Technically, according to Leave No Trace principles you should leave everything as you find it. Two other related principles would be travel on durable surfaces and respect wildlife. As you intimated, ...
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  • 2,002
33 votes

Can removing dead wood harm the ecosystem?

I'll answer this from a perspective of what we follow in some of the areca nut and coconut farms that I've grown up in. The areca nut and coconut trees shed their branches often. These are similar to ...
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  • 7,785
33 votes

Is it OK to throw pebbles and stones in streams, waterfalls, ponds, etc.?

Nature is not static, it is always in motion. Let's look at two extremes. A small pothole full of water on the trail can be completely filled with a couple of handfuls of gravel. Expand this to a ...
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31 votes

What are the benefits of saving bats?

You could ask what the importance is of any species or related group of animals. They all have their place in the ecosystem, and there will be consequences when any of them disappear. In the ...
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  • 21.3k
19 votes
Accepted

What are the benefits of saving bats?

Bats eat hundreds of mosquitos per bat every night, which is amazing for human peoples and the principle reason people hang up special made bat houses. Bat guano (poop) also creates habitats for other ...
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  • 53k
18 votes
Accepted

Can I use a trail camera to identify a roadside litterer?

I personally would rather just set an action camera to record over the timespan the litterer usually comes by. Consumer trail cameras don't usually have great definition - worse than action cameras ...
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  • 4,966
16 votes

Can I use a trail camera to identify a roadside litterer?

Yes, this should work, trail cameras are used quite frequently to catch people littering. We know this because a hidden camera caught it all on tape. Juneau police used the footage to find the ...
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14 votes

Can removing dead wood harm the ecosystem?

The answer seems to be that it depends, Birds, small mammals, and other wildlife use snags for nests, nurseries, storage areas, foraging, roosting, and perching. Live trees with snag-like features, ...
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14 votes

Are there any biodegrable freeze dried packages?

The first difficulty is technical: keeping such food dry requires a moisture barrier, or it will absorb water from the air. There aren't many materials that will do that, and biodegradable plastics, ...
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  • 22.5k
13 votes
Accepted

Why should lights be turned off on beaches where turtles breed?

The Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) gives two reasons for keeping beaches dark at night when sea turtles are laying or hatching. The first reason the STC gives is that a nesting turtle likes quiet, dark ...
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  • 22.2k
12 votes

When should I report a potentially injured-looking animal to authorities in a large, monitored, wildlife area?

In a National Park, unless the animal was harmed by a human, it seems like the park service isn't going to do anything. “The rule of thumb is that if human activity causes an animal to become ...
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11 votes

What are the benefits of saving bats?

They're part of the ecosystem. If they go away, it creates an imbalance that can't be fixed. Simple example, they eat huge numbers of mosquitoes. Kill the bats, and you free the mosquitoes to multiply ...
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  • 3,677
11 votes
Accepted

What should I do if I disturb a bird of prey with a kill?

The best thing to do would have been not disturb them in the first place, but I do understand the need of this question. So I wouldn't add any advice like "Do not disturb them in the first place". ...
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9 votes
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What types of wild foods are protected from foraging in the Swedish Lapland forests, and how is the status decided?

Protected species in sweden are listed in English here: Protected Species in Sweden. Since information is subject to change I will not copy the information into this answer. Apart from that, hunting ...
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  • 1,887
9 votes

What are the benefits of saving bats?

To add to the excellent answers already posted: Bats act as prey for larger birds like hawks, falcons, snakes et al. Bats (the larger ones known as flying foxes) help in seed dispersal as they eat ...
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  • 7,785
9 votes
Accepted

What group of people call themselves "Outdoor Influencers", and what do they do regarding natural areas of land?

Basically it's people with large social media followings who use their influence on those platforms, especially Instagram, to influence people to visit outdoor places, buy outdoor things and support ...
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8 votes
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What are the white pvc pipes in the Nevada desert for?

These are mining claim markers that mark the edges of the claim. The ones in the picture are legal, because the tops are capped. If the tops were not capped, it would be legal to pull them out and set ...
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8 votes
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How to get rid of illegal artificial paints on historical monuments?

When I've had to clean spray paint from remote destinations, we've used chemical paint removers in spray bottles and scrub brushes. Do not do this on a historic site without permission from whoever ...
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  • 4,199
8 votes

Why do some fisheries have a lower size limit and others have an upper size limit for keeping fish?

A lower size limit is designed to allow a fish to reach breeding age before it can be taken. An upper size limit is designed to prevent the most effective breeders from being taken. It is based on ...
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  • 4,199
8 votes

How to secure wild Red Eared turtle eggs from predators?

There are a number of considerations here, so getting educated is the first step in responding to the Red Eared sliders. There could be positive and negative effects. Contact your local conservation ...
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  • 3,677
8 votes

Can removing dead wood harm the ecosystem?

You're building up a huge fire hazard. Normally fires would've cleaned that out, but fire suppression for 40 years has left you with a lot of fuel. Which may make for a really bad fire. Destroying ...
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  • 181
8 votes

When should I report a potentially injured-looking animal to authorities in a large, monitored, wildlife area?

Depending on the species, park rangers and other wildlife officials may be very interested to know that it has been spotted. For example: the monk seal in Hawaii. If found on shore, it is so ...
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  • 395
7 votes
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What is the proper way to ford a shallow body of water in a back country situation?

I will answer in reverse order: (2) the least impact to the stream ecosystem, presuming you intend to cross, is to use the preexisting track. First, this restricts disturbance to an already ...
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  • 1,580
7 votes
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What are the best practices to ensure survival of catch and release fish?

In certain BC rivers, fishing is catch and release only, it's illegal to fish with anything but a single barbless hook. I have a whole tackle box full of spoons that have been hacked to death by a ...
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  • 53k
7 votes

How can we be the most respectful to a moose when photographing it up close?

First of all, if you're closer than 30 metres, then you're too close, get a telephoto lens and shoot from far away. If you want to see a moose, then the absolute best way to get a good look is to ...
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  • 53k
7 votes

Is it OK to throw pebbles and stones in streams, waterfalls, ponds, etc.?

In addition to the other answers here, I would point out that the trail itself may be maintained using a light application of gravel to prevent erosion or excessive runoff. Removing pebbles from the ...
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6 votes

Is it likely that decimation of its suburban forest habitat would cause a black bear to wander into a busy city if it wouldn't otherwise go there?

Bears only have one reason to go anywhere, and that reason is food. Humans eat to live, but bears live to eat. They are always on the move to find more food, discovering new patches of berries, ...
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  • 53k
6 votes

Minimizing ecological impact of winter-sports in the backcountry

There is one often forgotten thing in skiing that can be harmful. The waxes. The racing ones contain a lot of fluorocarbons that can stay in the environment for ages. The pure racing fluorocarbons (...
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